Our Next Great Leap

Today I’m announcing that we are beginning the search for Kickstarter’s next CEO.

I’ve spent the last 12 years working on Kickstarter in many different roles. As a co-founder, as our first community support rep when we launched in 2009, as an evangelist sharing Kickstarter with creators, as a team-builder who has hired and supported so many wonderful people, and most recently as CEO.

Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life. As a Public Benefit Corporation, we strive to be a leader in thoughtful corporate governance. We’ve empowered more than 100,000 people to bring their book, album, movie, artwork, game, play, or product into existence. Kickstarter distributed more than $170 million to independent creators over the last three months — the biggest three-month stretch in our history.

Since 2014 when I became CEO, we made several great leaps: tripling the total dollars pledged to projects, launching Kickstarter to creators in 16 countries, and building an exceptional team of leaders at every level. Now we’re looking for someone who can push us to make our next great leaps.

Let me be the first to tell you: the job is great. The team is seriously ridiculous. 2017 will be our eighth straight profitable year. Great stuff is cooking in the oven. Being the CEO of Kickstarter is an unreal opportunity for someone with a deep connection to creative projects, someone who doesn’t believe in putting profit above all, and someone who’s excited by the challenge of building on a successful business that’s oriented to the long term.

While I’ll step down sometime later this year, I’ll continue to be out in the world sharing our story as a cofounder and #1 fan. And I’ll be getting up to some new projects, too. Stay tuned.

I want to thank my cofounders Perry and Charles, our board, and the team for fighting the good fight together. Hell yeah!

Celebrating 100,000 Kickstarter Creators

The Martha Graham Dance Company has run three Kickstarter projects. Photo by Brigid Pierce. Courtesy of Martha Graham Dance Company.
The Martha Graham Dance Company has run three Kickstarter projects. Photo by Brigid Pierce. Courtesy of Martha Graham Dance Company.

We were poking around in our stats and discovered that we recently passed a nice round milestone: More than 100,000 independent creators have funded their projects with Kickstarter.

Those creators come from every corner of the creative universe. They are documentary filmmakers, tabletop game developers, fashion designers, and open-source hardware tinkerers. They come from Provo and Malmo and Tulum. Some ran a single project that raised $100. Some have run dozens of projects. There are individuals like the designer Ji Lee with his Redundant Clock, and important cultural organizations like the Martha Graham Dance Company. Together they paint a picture of the independent creative landscape today.

Here are some numbers behind those funded creators (there are actually closer to 107,000 of them already!):

  • Number of projects successfully funded on Kickstarter: 128,586 
  • Number of creators who have run more than one successfully funded project: 12,107 
  • Average amount raised by successfully funded projects: $21,698 
  • Median amount raised by successfully funded projects: $5,050 
  • Total amount of money pledged to successfully funded projects: $2,790,010,435 
  • Number of backers who have pledged to a successfully funded project: 11,789,656 
  • Total number of pledges to successfully funded projects: 32,863,094 
  • Average number of backers for successfully funded projects: 255

Many Kickstarter projects are the first step on a much longer creative journey. Creators often return to Kickstarter again and again to share their latest ideas with the people who helped get them started. For these creators, Kickstarter is a way to sustain their creative practice and engage a community over the long term. In fact, more than a third of the $3 billion pledged on Kickstarter has gone to repeat creators. Recently we celebrated many of these creators by asking them to put new spins on rewards from past projects for Kickstarter Gold.

None of these successes would have happened without the generous support of the backers who fuel this entire creative ecosystem. People from nearly every country on Earth have backed a project. To date, 13.2 million people have gotten behind ideas in the earlier stages of development here. And 32% of those people have supported more than one project.

When you combine that loyal backer community with our creators and their remarkable ideas, almost anything can happen. Here’s to the next 100,000 funded creators!

For more data on Kickstarter projects, check out our live stats page.

40+ Ideas to Inspire Your Project of Earth

How would you explain the diversity of life and culture on Earth to someone — or something — from a far-away planet?

In 1977 Carl Sagan and his team created the Golden Record — a collection of scenes, sounds, music, and greetings representing life on Earth — and launched it into space on NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 probes. Intended as a message for other intelligent life forms who might encounter these spacecraft and wonder about their origins, the record was also an exercise in self-discovery and reflection.

Four decades later, we’re still inspired by the imagination, optimism, and curiosity that went into creating this terrestrial time capsule. So we’re asking you to contribute to making something that represents life on Earth in 2017 by putting your own imaginative idea out there for others to discover. We know, we know — representing a whole planet is a huge undertaking. That’s why we’re inviting our entire community to take part. Combined, these projects will form a portrait of the Earth today: our accomplishments, challenges, hopes, and dreams, conveyed through a diverse collection of creative projects.

What can you create to represent your little corner of the universe?

To help get your ideas flowing, we’ve collected 40 past Kickstarter projects that touch on Projects of Earth’s key themes. Take a look and begin planning — then sign up to receive creator updates and start building your project.


Exploration

“Making the record provided us with a unique opportunity to view our planet, our species, and our civilization as a whole.”  —Carl Sagan, Murmurs of Earth

Unscrambling Africa
Four friends from Nairobi, Kenya hit the road to explore and document thirteen cities across southern Africa through art and photography.

The Great American Farm Tour
A family of six piled into a converted school bus to meet people across the United States using backyards, homesteads, and farms for sustainable food production.

Let’s Sail Around the World!
Emily Richmond embarked on a solo voyage around the world and invited backers to follow along.

OpenROV Trident
You don’t have to travel to space to discover a vast realm full of strange lifeforms. This swimming robot opens up underwater exploration to everyone.

Read more

Creating a Visual Archive of South Central L.A. with Artist Lauren Halsey


“[South Central L.A.] is a dream world. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It’s the most creative place I’ve ever been in the world.” —Visual artist Lauren Halsey

Through art, Lauren Halsey is working to challenge narratives of South Central L.A. Earlier this year, the she launched The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project on Kickstarter, a public art installation empowering residents of South Central L.A. to share their own stories. Once constructed, the installation will invite visitors to carve “hieroglyphs” into a series of blank panels, creating a visual archive of the neighborhood. The space will also be used to host community events — from outdoor concerts with local musicians to meetings that facilitate dialogue around the neighborhood’s rapid gentrification.

“As people are being pushed out of their context, their neighborhoods, their narratives, I think we need the platform to tell our stories,” she says of the collaborative project.

In the video above, Halsey shares how she got motivated to share her own story.

Inspired to bring a project of your own to life? Get started here.

Announcing Kickstarter Gold: Bold New Takes on Iconic Projects

Some of the most inventive projects in Kickstarter history are back — with a twist.

3Doodler. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. Music for Cats. Chineasy. These are just a few of the iconic projects whose creators are launching new campaigns today as part of Kickstarter Gold. Now through July 31, a group of over 65 exceptional artists, designers, musicians, and makers will be back on Kickstarter, putting new spins on ideas from their past projects. Whether you’re just discovering their work or you’re a long-time fan, you’ll have the opportunity to support some of Kickstarter’s most inspired creators — and collect exciting rewards that aren’t available anywhere else.

Read more

Our Messaging Tools Just Got Better

More than 27,000 messages a day pass through Kickstarter’s messaging system. That’s a lot to keep up with, especially for active backers and creators. So we’ve rolled out something new on the Kickstarter site: a revamped messaging system that makes it easier to manage the flow.

You’ll notice that your message box has a cleaner look and some new features. A popup menu on the right lets you choose from different views of your messages — including new Spam and Archive options. And you can archive messages from here with one click.

When you’re looking at a message from a creator, you’ll now see more information about their project and your pledge on the left side. The buttons up top let you archive messages that you want to save for later, or report messages as spam.

Speaking of spam, creators have told us they get too many unsolicited pitches from marketers and other service providers. So we've added a new service that should automatically flag those messages and keep them out of your inbox. If the system doesn't catch a spam message, you can improve the filters and help everyone out by tagging it manually. You can also go to your Spam box to review messages and mark them as “not spam” if need be. 

 We’ve just made these new messaging features available to all of our users. We hope they improve backer-creator communication and make your inbox a better place to be!

Launch a Project of Earth: August 20 – September 5

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. — Carl Sagan

For the fortieth anniversary of the Voyager Golden Record’s launch into space, we invite creators to launch new projects inspired by its scenes, sounds, music, and greetings. Read on for the details, and sign up to receive updates about the initiative.

 

Read more

Instructables Invention Challenge

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
-Thomas Edison

Have you ever looked at a brilliant Kickstarter campaign and gone, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Well, it’s time to put your imagination to work and invent something of your own. We’re collaborating with the how-to experts at Instructables to bring you the Invention Challenge, a chance to share your brightest ideas and invent something to share with the world. To enter, create something that completes a task, solves a problem, or just makes life more fun, then post an Instructable explaining how you did it before July 31.

To celebrate the most ingenious inventions, we’re offering some creativity-enabling prizes that got their start on Kickstarter. You could win a Nomad CNC mill, a Robo 3D printer, or a Teensy microcontroller — great prototyping tools to help move your idea forward. So brainstorm, iterate, and turn that proverbial pile of junk into something exciting and new. Maybe you’ll even feel inspired to take the next step and bring your idea to life on Kickstarter.

Here’s a bit more about the Kickstarter-funded creative tools that you could win.

Nomad CNC Mill
Cut wood, metal, circuit boards, casting wax, and many other materials with this desktop CNC mill. While this versatile machine would be a welcome addition to any makerspace, artist's studio, or jeweler’s workshop, its enclosed design means that it’s quiet and clean enough to use at home.

Robo C2 3D Printer
3D printers can help you make amazing things but sometimes getting them to work is a project unto itself. Robo’s easy-to-use, Wi-Fi–connected machines are designed to let makers focus on seamless creativity rather than technical troubleshooting. 

Teensy 3.6 Development Board 
Create robots, musical instruments, and interactive projects of all kinds with this small but powerful Arduino-compatible microcontroller that’s become a favorite in the maker community. 


With a lot of hard work and some help from backers on Kickstarter, these creators turned their imaginative ideas into real inventions that now help people pursue their own creative dreams.

Want to enter the Invention Challenge but need some inspiration? Sign up for our Invent newsletter to see the latest in design and tech on Kickstarter. And check out Instructables’ Invention Class to learn more about the process of bringing your ideas to life.